Untitled-1 copyA new Mexican restaurant named Taqueria El Pastorcito has opened at 2009 De la Vina street, the former home of Los Gallos. I spoke with Noe Vargas, son of owner Pedro Vargas, who tells me that his family has a food background from Puebla, Mexico where the El Pastor taco (marinated pork) originated from. Noe’s father and grandfather are both chefs. The family has been running El Pastocito catering in Santa Barbara for over 5 years. All tortillas at the eatery are handmade from scratch and the Tacos el Pastor is their signature dish. Chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes are also available. Hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Saturday. For more information call 895-2827 or visit facebook.com/TaquisasSB.

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154This just in from the Sansum Clinic:

Santa Barbara’s Newest Eatery – Café 154  – Opens at the New Sansum Clinic Medical and Surgical Center on Foothill Road

Santa Barbara, Calif. – Sansum Clinic announces the opening of Café 154, Santa Barbara’s newest eatery, at the new Medical and Surgical Center located at 4151 Foothill Road in Santa Barbara.

“We are pleased to announce the opening of Café 154 at our newest location on Foothill Road,” said Nelia Abuyen, Director of Operations at Sansum Clinic. “The café offers a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for patients and the public. This is an excellent example of the emphasis we are placing on enhancing our patients’ experience of Sansum Clinic.”

Café 154 is now open to the public on Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Café 154 offers artisan sandwiches, fresh bistro salads, refreshing smoothies and more! The café has comfortable indoor seating and a spacious outdoor patio, and like all of Sansum Clinic’s locations, free WiFi access is available. For more information, please visit: sansumclinic.org/cafe154.

Café 154 is located in the first floor lobby of the Medical and Surgical Center, Building A, and is operated by Gregorio Ramirez.

About Sansum Clinic
Sansum Clinic is the largest independent nonprofit healthcare organization between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 180 affiliated physicians, Sansum Clinic provides the full spectrum of healthcare services, from primary care to more than 30 specialties. Sansum Clinic serves more than 150,000 patients (600,000) visits annually at their 23 patient care facilities between Carpinteria and Santa Maria.

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The1 33rd annual Taste of the Town fundraiser is being held Sunday, September 7th noon to 3 p.m. at the Riviera Park Garden, 2030 Alameda Padre Serra. The Taste of the Town is Santa Barbara’s original tasting event, featuring samples from over 80 local restaurants and wineries. Tickets cost $125 and can be purchased online by 9/6/14 at www.tasteofthetownsantabarbara.com or by calling 563-4685. The cost is $140 at the door, if tickets are still available.

Taste of the Town will include a special salute to movie Sideways 10th anniversary (sideways10.com). The popular event will also be showcasing venues of the new Santa Barbara Public Market (sbpublicmarket.com). MC is Debby Davison and live music is provided by The David Tovar Trio.

Participating food vendors include Alchemy Arts Center, Aldo’s Italian Restaurant, Arlington Tavern, Belcampo Meat Co., Belmond El Encanto, Blue Tavern, Blush, Butler Catering, Ca’dario, Ca’dario Pizzeria, Crazy Good Bread, Culture Counter, Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar, Enjoy Cupcakes, Foragers Pantry, Fresco Cafe & Bakery, Il Fustino Oils & Vinegars, Los Agaves, Los Arroyos, Louie’s California Bistro, Michael’s Catering, Mirabelle Inn And Restaurant, New West Catering / Industrial Eats, Olivos Del Mar, Opal Restaurant & Bar, Pascucci, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro, Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Monica Seafood, The Chase Restaurant, The Palace Grill, The Pasta Shoppe, Via Maestra 42

More than 50,000 Santa Barbara County residents and children have been diagnosed with one of the 100+ forms of arthritis—and look for help and hope from the Arthritis Foundation. All proceeds from Taste of the Town support the local programs and services of the Arthritis Foundation, the only national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of nearly 53 million people (including nearly 300,000 children) in the USA with arthritis through public health programs, advocacy, and research.


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Reader Day let me know that a new public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages has appeared at 734 State Street, the home of Relais de Paris.

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R+D Kitchen, an offshoot of the Houston’s restaurant chain, plans to open a location on Coast Village Road, in a new building currently under construction, situated immediately to the left of Jeannine’s Bakery. The property used to be a nursery. I am told that R+D Kitchen has approached several businesses in town offering to purchase their liquor license for $175,000, reportedly a significant premium over the going rate. Here is a message from their web site:

“R+D Kitchen’s mantra is all about crisp, flavorful cuisine. In each of the R+D’s, one can enjoy the light and airy qualities of the space where there is a connection to the outside. The first R+D was established in Newport Beach at Fashion Island and has slowly expanded to four locations including Dallas, Santa Monica, and Yountville in California’s Napa Valley. In the works next: R+D Kitchen in Montecito, CA!”



The ongoing California drought has forced state-wide water rationing. Our lawns are brown. Our fountains are dry. It’s even affected the Rumor Machine which stopped printing when the internal lubrication dried up. After a recent blast of WD-40 onto the rollers, a piece of paper suddenly popped out that read: “Though Lucky Penny was previously destined to migrate to 131 Anacapa Street, the former home of the recently-closed Avelina Wine Company, some time next year the popular eatery will instead be moving to 202 State Street, the current home of Bay Roadhouse Bar and Grill.” As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.



The folks behind Barbareño restaurant, coming this fall to 205 West Canon Perdido Street, formerly D’Vine Café, have started a series of pop-up dinners so you can try their food in advance of the opening. “We’re weekly holding pop-up dinners for our restaurant, Barbareño, up until the time we open,” says co-owner Julian Martinez. “We’ve done one pop-up at The Shop on Milpas, one at Pacific Crepes, and one at Three Pickles downtown. They’ve been a lot of fun, and it’s been a great way for people to try out some of the food we’ll eventually be serving at the restaurant. People can stay up on where our next dinners will be through our blog at barbareno.wordpress.com.”

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This just in from reader Jessica:

Hey John,

I read your column every week.

Changes are coming to the Funk Zone. Oreana Winery has been sold to an LA-based winery called Agua Dulce and they have submitted plans to change half of the building into a tasting room for that brand. The property next door, that once was a fish drying business, has been purchased by Melville Winery for what one has to assume will be a tasting room as well.




If you can help reader Jen please leave a message in the blog.

Hi John,

After the fun of clicking away at your website for the last two hours I thought maybe you’d just know the perfect dinner spot for our team of 10 somewhere between highway 154 and Stearns Wharf. Here’s my wish list:

  • No long table where we can’t see/talk to folks at the other end, prefer round or more flexible setup
  • More casual than formal
  • Not too loud
  • Midrange in price ($25 budget per person); specials would be great it’ll be Weds at around 5:30pm
  • 2 vegetarians, 1 gluten-free, a couple of foodie locavores and a couple of big appetites
  • Outside dining would be great but not as important as food (for instance I went back to Zaytoon over the weekend and confirmed that while fun the food was mediocre)
  • Happy hour buffet would be cool or something that gives the opportunity to mingle before the meal

Any recommendations for a fun, relaxed spot that feels special but not intimidating?

Thanks in advance! I always flip to your page first in the Independent. Food “gossip” is the most tasty!




I spoke with Cafe Del Sol at 30 Los Patos Way in Montecito and was told that their liquor license has been suspended. I was not given a time frame for when alcohol sales will resume. Tasty food continues to be served as usual!



This just in from Palazzio, 1026 State Street:

Hi John,

I want to personally apologize to all of our dining customers.  The “buck” stops with me and I take full blame and responsibility for my restaurant’s kitchen staff. Here’s what happened:

I was getting reviews from our customers for the past year that our food was tasting different, and the food was not up to our standards. I couldn’t understand why? Our ingredients were the same, our cooks have been with us for 20 years and our recipes hadn’t changed either. So, what had changed? I investigated and I discovered that a couple of our Prep Cooks had decided to take “short cuts” with our recipes. They were skipping recipes procedures, and quite frankly, I was shocked. There were ingredients in the recipes that they were just not including.  They began to change the recipes and I had no idea that they were not following the recipes. What an owner’s nightmare.  We’ve been open over 20 years and we shouldn’t have these types of problems, especially since many of my kitchen staff have been with me for almost 20 years!!

I wanted to let all of our customers know that after my spending one solid week in our kitchen, (last week) I can now say that everything is back to our “original” recipes. I have instituted “checks and balances” so that this is NOT going to happen again. So to all those customers who have been sadly disappointed with the Palazzio brand in recent times, I am, again, extremely sorry, and I would be hopeful if you’d please try us again!!

Moral of the story: you cannot ever “let up” your guard.  Keeping a watchful eye, hands on, over your entire restaurant’s procedures is always best policy for our guests and for Palazzio.

Ken Boxer
Owner of Palazzio

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Silvergreens restaurants (791 Chapala Street and 900 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista) will spin-off a new eatery this fall named Kyle’s Kitchen at 5723 Calle Real in Goleta, the former home of Quizno’s. I contacted Ron Gleiberman, Partner and Director of Operations at Silvergreens Restaurants and Catering, who confirmed the news. “Yes, we have a new location going in on Calle Real,” says Gleiberman. “It’s called Kyle’s Kitchen, with the owner’s son being the inspiration behind the concept. It will be focused on great burgers and salads in a fast casual setting. We will be using the outside patio on either side of the pergola for outside seating. The goal is to get it open in October.” Thank you to readers Barbara and Iceman for the tips.


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The newest Santa Barbara food truck is actually a food bike. Filled with 15 dozen fresh tamales in the bike’s steamer, weekend visitors to the Funk Zone will be able to buy fresh tamales starting August 23rd. Santa Barbara Tamales-To-Go owner Richard Lambert says the tamale bike will be located at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry, 120 Santa Barbara Street. “They invited us to park at the entrance from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, August 23-24,” says Lambert. “If the idea proves popular, tamale weekends at the Art Foundry will become an ongoing series.” Lambert’s company makes and delivers tamales year-round to homes and businesses in the Santa Barbara area. If you want to try one of the company’s tamales, they’ll also be serving at the 5th Annual Tequila Harvest Festival in Santa Barbara on August 30th.




This just in from downtown Silvergreens:

Silvergreens is excited to announce their new Happy Hour taking place Sunday thru Friday from 3pm to 6pm and all day on Saturdays. $4.00 Fig Mt beer. $4.00 local Santa Barbara county wines. $4.00 appetizers. Check out a great vibe. Grab some Coconut Chicken Skewers, an Apple & Brie Flatbread or some Ceviche Tacos. Pair your apps with our new Michelada or a glass of Pear Cider. Eat Real Food for Happy Hour!

Offer valid at our Downtown location only. 791 Chapala Street across from Paseo Nuevo.

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This just in from The Burger Bus:

Hello John-

It has been a long time, we hope all is well.

We just wanted to give you the heads up that we are hosting a Pop Up Brunch at Municipal Winery (22 Anacapa) this Sunday the 24th from 11-1pm.  We will be serving up some delicious Louisiana Style Southern Comfort food including:

  • Pulled Pork and Grits with Red Eye Gravy and Cracklin Dust
  • Smoked Brisket Hash with peppers and onions
  • Lemon Mascarpone Pancakes with Fresh Berries
  • Eggs, Bacon, Louisiana Hot Sausage, toast and Sweet Potato Home Fries will be choices too!

There will be some other treats as well, but you need to come down to find out. We hope you can swing by and check it out.

Michael & Cheryl Gardner
The Burger Bus

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This just in from Finch & Fork restaurant at 31 West Carrillo Street:

Hi John!

I wanted to let you know, we are hosting a “Farewell to Tiki Tuesday Luau” on Tuesday, August 26th beginning at 5:30 pm.  We’ll have live entertainment, Chef James Siao will be roasting a whole pig and serving an island inspired buffet, and of course, there will be tiki cocktails!

Tickets are available via Night Out and more information is posted on Facebook. Guests who have questions can call Finch & Fork at (805) 879-9100.


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Word on the street is that two regional restaurant chains are independently considering setting up shop in the 8,700-square-foot property at 521 Firestone Road in Goleta, the former home of Elephant Bar, which closed last September.



Los Arroyos Montecito is celebrating ten years at its current location at 1280 Coast Village Road. On Monday, August 25th they will have a special anniversary menu with the most popular items at 50% off. The dining destination will also have complimentary sweet treats for all customers and live mariachi music from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out first opened in 1999 in Downtown Santa Barbara. Five years later they opened the second location in Montecito followed by a third eatery in Camarillo in the The Promenade at The Camarillo Premium Outlets.

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Reader Rudy let me know that a Mediterranean cafe is coming to 938 Embarcadero Del Norte in Isla Vista, the former home of Javan’s.


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glutenStarting last week, “gluten-free” labels on packaged foods have a defined meaning. Until now, the term “gluten-free” had not been regulated, and product manufacturers made their own decisions about what it means. Under the new rules food manufacturers must ensure that anything labeled gluten-free contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten – ensuring that those products are technically free of wheat, rye and barley. That amount is generally recognized by the medical community to be low enough so that most people who have celiac disease won’t be affected by eating a product with gluten-free labeling.

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I am hearing that construction has started at 403 State Street, the former long-time home of Esau’s Cafe, before they moved to 721 Chapala Street. The space has been vacant since Esau’s departed. I don’t know what type of business is coming to that address.


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Reader Cathy tells me that Napoleon’s Macaron’s at 305 Paseo Nuevo, formerly Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, has closed. The business opened in February of this year. Here is a message from their web site:

Unfortunately, today is our last day in Santa Barbara. We wanted to thank everybody in town for making us part of their community. We will be back very soon. We promise!

In the meantime, you may still order our macarons to be shipped overnight on www.napoleonsmacarons.com

And if you ever get a chance, you can still visit our other stores in California Napoleon’s Macarons Americana Napoléon’s Macarons Napoleon’s Macarons Valley Fair and Napoleon’s Macarons San Francisco Centre




This just in from reader PrimeTime:

There was a fire at the Indigo Hotel and Blue Tavern restaurant at 11:30 today linked to equipment on the roof. It is located at 119 and 121 State St. near Mason. The hotel is open tonight but the restaurant will be closed about a day while repairs are made.


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A new Mexican eatery named Tacos El Rey has opened at 5 W. Haley Street, the former home of Magic Pita Café and Greek House Café. I am told that the restaurant menu offers only tacos and that each cost about a dollar. In a previous write-up about this business it was suggested they might also sell burgers but that did not turn out to be true.

Reader Ryan describes his experience this way: “I gotta say, the tacos are fantastic! I got all three meats they were serving that day and a veggie (mushroom) and they were on hit! The salsa bar was tasty as well. They need some interior tables and the ability to take credit cards but those are small things I’m sure they will iron out. I also asked about the menu and they said they are going to keep it simple for now and sell only tacos which I think is great. Focus well on those little beauties and you’ve got yourselves a hit!”

For more information call 963-5758. Thanks to readers Ryan, Brendan and Karl for the tips!




Reader Brendan tells me that Taqueria El Pastorcito is coming to 2009 De la Vina Street, the former Los Gallos restaurant. I’m told the place doesn’t seem to be open yet. A few months ago I spoke with the family that operated Los Gallos, as well as both Daily Grind coffee shops, and they told me that they planned to reopen at a restaurant at 2009 De la Vina.



rosnerWine Cask has a new top chef in the kitchen. The locally renowned, Santa Barbara landmark restaurant at 813 Anacapa Street has welcomed Executive Chef David Rosner to Wine Cask and Intermezzo.

Chef Rosner brings an extensive culinary background from across the globe, including work from Europe, New York City, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara where he was Executive Chef and Director of Operations for Café Luck in 2008.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Rosner to the Wine Cask team,” said Mitchell Sjerven, Co-Owner of Wine Cask. “His culinary expertise and passion for sustainable, organic produce allows him to employ a unique, modern approach with classic techniques to each dish – which we believe is the perfect blend for the Santa Barbara palette.”



Sal’s Pizza at 900 N. Milpas Street is celebrating its 10th year in business on Santa Barbara’s Eastside. The small, unassuming pizza shop opened its doors on August 7, 2004. Celebrating a 10-year anniversary on the Santa Barbara restaurant scene is no small feat, especially with the ups and downs of the local and national economy over the last few years. Owner Sal Esquivel credits customer loyalty, great food and excellent service as keys to thriving in such difficult times.

“The past 10 years have been a dream come true,” says Esquivel. “I have seen generations of students from Santa Barbara High School graduate and enter college, and I have seen the neighborhood grow and become a destination for all Santa Barbara residents. Times have been tough occasionally, and many people didn’t think I would make it past my first year. But we never doubted it, never gave up, and did all the hard work needed. I thank God, my family and my staff for that. I’m one lucky guy.” The restaurant is open Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information call 568-0222.



Chef Leslie Thomas will demonstrate how to make Nutella and Mousse on Sunday, August 31, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in The Big Kitchen at the Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 W. Victoria Street. Both recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Dessert ingredients kits available for purchase at end of class. Limited seating available. First come, first served. Samples and recipes provided. For more information call 770-7702.


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Angry Wings restaurant at 6530 Pardall Road in Isla Vista is closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall.

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A new café named Boochies opened on August 11th at 113 W. De la Guerra Street, the former home of Bella Dolce Bakery and Saffron. Owner Rebekah Winquest, a nutritionist who runs the restaurant with her husband Shawn, tells me the eatery is 100% organic and include juices, gluten-free baked goods, raw desserts, Matcha tea and Pâté of the day. The café is also a “health and nutrition hub” offer cooking and nutrition classes.

Photos by reader PrimeTime

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